4-Day Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces Trek

This tour is designed for those who want to visit remote Chinese villages, but only have a few days to spare. Based in the vicinity of the Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces, only 2.5 hours north of Guilin, the trek takes you up and down steep rice-terraced mountains and through Zhuang and Yao villages that are rarely visited by tourists.  An overnight stay at the Longsheng Hot Springs allows you to finish the trip feeling refreshed and ready for more China adventures.

Tour starts/finishes: Guilin

Fitness level required: High

Time of year available: March-early December

Time of year recommended: March-April, September-November

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Guilin-Jiuwu (L, D)

Meet up with your guide, Michael. Drive north of Guilin to Bojitang in Linchuan County. home to the Pan Yao minority. From here you will begin your trek with a tough 3.5 hour climb (14 km) up through forested mountains to a Red Yao village called Yujia. Have a late lunch in Yujia, then continuing hiking for another 2 hours (5km) to arrive in Jiuwu Red Yao village. Overnight in Jiuwu village in homestay accommodation.

Day 2: Jiuwu-Tiantouzhai (B, L, D)

Have a local breakfast of bacon and oil tea. From Jiuwu we continue hiking for approx 4.5 hours (9 km) across terraced slopes and bamboo forests and past several small villages to arrive in Dazhai at the foot of the Jinkeng Rice Terraces. Have lunch in Dazhai, then hike on for a further hour to arrive in Tiantou Yao Village at the top of the Jinkeng Rice Terraces. Have dinner on the balcony of the Beautiful Views Guesthouse taking in the sweeping views.

Day 3- Tiantouzhai-Pannei- Longsheng Hot Springs (B, L, D)

Hike up to No. 1 viewpoint, then cross the mountain range leaving the “tourist trail behind. Hike down through the terraced slopes, passing Dadongchu, Pingzhai and Yangmei villages on the way. Be picked up by a driver in Pannei for the 1.5 hour drive to the Longsheng Hot Springs where you can relax your tired muscles in luxury. Overnight at the Hot Springs.

Day 4: Longsheng Hot Springs (B, L)

Spend a relaxing morning at the Hot Springs. After lunch, drive back to Guilin. Tour concludes (3 hours).

Tour prices

The following table shows the price per person for groups of varying sizes. The budget option and comfortable option differ in terms of transportation and accommodation. Please see the price inclusions below for details.

2 people 3 people 4-5 people 6-7 people 8 or more Single supplement
Budget 2500 CNY 1950 CNY 1600 CNY 1350 CNY 1200 CNY 200 CNY
Comfortable 2900 CNY 2400 CNY 2000 CNY 1650 CNY 1400 CNY 500 CNY

Price inclusions

  1. Accommodation: Both options use homestay accommodation in Jiuwu village, and a small guesthouse with private bathrooms in Tiantouzhai.  The budget option uses a small guesthouse at the Longsheng Hot Springs, while the comfortable option includes a 4 star hotel.
  2. Entrance tickets: Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces (80 CNY), Longsheng Hot Springs (98 CNY)
  3. All transportation: Both budget and comfortable options use private vehicles for the transfers on Days 1 and 3. On Day 4, the budget option uses tourist buses for the transfer from Longsheng Hot Springs to Guilin, while the comfortable option includes a private vehicle. Transportation is by 7 seater minivan for groups of up to 4 people, an 11  seater Jinbei vehicle for groups of 5-7 people and a 15 seater vehicle for 8-10 people.
  4. Meals : 3 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners as marked on the itinerary. Lunches and dinners will be standard Chinese food including rice and a variety of meat and vegetable dishes. Breakfasts will be a combination of Chinese breakfast foods (noodles, steamed buns, eggs). Please note that food in homestay accommodation will be simple and may contain dishes that westerners are not accustomed to.
  5. Guide: An experienced English speaking tour guide

Price exclusions

  1. The service of porters
  2. Snacks, drinks and alcoholic beverages
  3. Travel insurance
  4. Personal expenses such as phone calls, laundry etc.


  1. Surcharges will be charged for peak travelling times such as Chinese New Year, May Day (May 1st-7th) and National Day (October 1st-7th). For tours at these times please contact us for a customized quote.
  2. The prices quoted are to be used as a guide only. A final tour quote will be provided to you at the time of enquiry which may be higher or lower than the price listed above.


Below are some images from previous tours in this area. Click to view larger images.

Travellers’ feedback

Jo Powell writes…

‘I thought I’d drop you an email to say THANK YOU for a fantastic trip to southern China. The first few days over the Rice Terrace mountains, for me, was the highlight of the entire month away.  We felt so welcome at all the homes we visited, and it was such a privilege to experience staying with some of these families, eating their food and sleeping in their beds.  Eric did a brilliant job leading us through the maze of paths and terraces, and organising (and often cooking) the meals along the way. The kids particularly loved Eric and his sense of humour.  (And boy, when you warned us that it was a hard hike, you were right – it was damn hard!!!!)

We were so thankful to have experienced the earthiness of being with the people, and being away from the crowds of tourists, and seeing the ‘real’ China with you guys. The tour was exactly as planned and we had a wonderful time.  (The only thing you could have done better was provide more sunshine – it was a tad damp, overcast and cold….!)

We’re more than happy to recommend Backroads of China to anyone and everyone we meet.’

Melissa van Bergen writes…

‘Our Guangxi tour was our second tour with Backroads of China and it was a totally different adventure.  It was a really lovely way to experience rural China. We got to visit a small village that was only accessible by foot.  It was a very peaceful break from the hustle and bustle of big city China.  It was fantastic walking through the fields and seeing people working and also being the only group of tourists there.  The Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces were  beautiful and the walk the following day down the valley behind the Rice Terraces was spectacular.  This was a nicely challenging walk for us (and our 3 and 5 year old) and ended in a nice soak in a hot springs.’


You are enquiring about the 4-Day Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces Trek. Please tell more about your travel plans and we’ll reply to you in the next 48 hours. If you are making a more general tour enquiry then please fill in our Contact Us form.

Trip information

Travel dates:

No. of adults:

No. of children:

Personal information

First name(required):

Family name:


Country of residence:

Your Email (required):

Contact phone:

Other information

How did you hear about Backroads?

Please tell us more about your personal interests, the amount of hiking you'd like to do and what type of accommodation you'd like to stay in during your trip (camping, homestay, guesthouses, hotels or a combination)